4 Yoga Poses for a Great Butt
Ask many women what area they dislike most about their bodies and you will likely hear one of two things: the belly area or the backside. In some ways, I dislike creating a yoga sequence targeting the legs and butt because I personally practice yoga and enjoy other forms of movement such as running, surfing, and stand up paddling not as a means to an end but because yoga and movement have taught me how to love my body regardless of a bit of extra weight around my middle or a few dimples on my butt. I love movement because it makes me feel alive, happy, and empowered. The fact that my butt looks better in a bikini is just an added bonus! So, try the following sequence with an attitude of love and gratitude for your body and its awesome capabilities. Thank your legs and backside for being the workhorses of the body that they are, supporting you throughout your days. I am currently 5 months pregnant with my third child, and embracing my larger frame, while still continuing to move as much as possible for the sheer love of it.
Tabletop Butt Blaster
Come to a hands and knees position with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. On an inhalation extend your right arm forward and your left leg straight back, drawing the navel towards the spine, gazing at the floor and floating the leg up just parallel to the ground. Maintain the internal rotation of your lifted leg, meaning that the hips are square and the inner thigh of the lifted leg is reaching up to the sky and on an exhalation, release down. Inhale and float the left arm forward and the right leg back, and exhale to release down. Repeat eight times on each side. This sequence works the hamstrings and gluteal muscles of the lifted leg.
Plank Pose with Bonus
From your tabletop position, extend your legs straight back behind you and come to plank pose. Hold here for a few breaths, drawing the belly in tightly to the spine. On an inhalation lift the right leg just a couple of inches into the air, again internally rotating the leg so that the hips are square and the inner right leg lifts to the sky. To fire the adductors (inner thighs), create your own resistance and hug the leg to the midline, imagining that someone is trying to push your right leg to the right but you resist them by hugging in. Pulse the leg up and down 10 times. Put the right foot down and switch, lifting the left leg. On an exhalation, come down and press back into child’s pose for a short rest. This plank with bonus works the hamstrings and glutes of the lifted leg, as well as the inner thigh muscles.
Press back to a downward facing dog pose. Step the right foot forward into a lunge position and bring your torso to vertical with your hands on your hips. Use your hands to press your buttocks flesh down, creating space in your lower back. On an inhalation, bend the back (left) leg so that the knee hovers right above the ground, and as you exhale, extend and stretch the left leg straight. Again, inhale and bend the back leg; exhale to extend the back leg. Repeat eight times on this side. Now keep the back leg fully extended and stretch the arms up alongside the ears into a high lunge. Pull the belly in and up and lengthen the tailbone down. Take five breaths. Inhale place both hands on the floor next to the front foot, and exhale step back to downward facing dog and then switch sides. This one strengthens the entire leg, but specifically the quads, buttocks and abs.
Utkatasana with Abduction
From your downward dog, walk the feet to the hands and release over the legs in an easy forward bend to release the backs of the legs. Soften the knees and roll up to stand. Stand in mountain pose and extend the arms straight up into Urdhva Hastasana (upward reaching hands pose). On an exhalation bend the knees and sit back into utkatasana (fierce or awkward chair pose). Hold for five breaths. Now inhale, and on the exhalation sit a little lower and you raise the right leg straight out to the side. Inhale that leg down, exhale the left leg straight out to the side. Inhale lower down. Repeat eight times each side. Inhale stand up to mountain, and exhale release the arms.
Following this sequence I suggest a 3-5 minute legs up the wall pose, to restore the legs and truly relax. You deserve it!